Æthelwine (bishop of Durham)

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Bishop of Durham
Appointed 1056
Term ended winter 1071-1072
Predecessor Æthelric
Successor William Walcher
Consecration 1056
Personal details
Died winter of 1071–1072
Denomination Catholic

Æthelwine (also Egelwin, Aethelwyne, Aethelwine, Aethelwyn, Ethelwin, or Aethelwin; died c. 1072) was the last Anglo-Saxon bishop of Durham,[1] the last who was not also a secular ruler, and the only English bishop at the time of the Norman Conquest who did not remain loyal to King William the Conqueror.


Æthelwine was consecrated bishop in 1056.[2] He was installed as bishop by Tostig, the Earl of Northumbria and was the choice of King Edward the Confessor.[3] Æthelwine was the brother of the previous bishop, Æthelric, who had been forced to resign after a financial scandal.[4] In 1059, Æthelwine, along with Tostig and Cynesige, the Archbishop of York, accompanied King Malcolm III of Scotland to King Edward's court, where Malcolm may have acknowledged Edward as Malcolm's overlord.[5] Æthelwine oversaw the translation of the relics of the saint Oswine of Deira to Durham in 1065.[6] Æthelwine, like his brother, was unpopular with the clergy of his cathedral, mainly because he was an outsider and had been installed in office without any input from the cathedral chapter.[7] In 1065, the monks of Æthelwine's cathedral chapter were leaders in the revolt against Tostig, which was successful, although Æthelwine remained as bishop.[8]

Æthelwine was initially loyal to King William after the Norman Conquest, and in the summer of 1068 he submitted to William at York.[9] The submission followed on the heels of William building the first castle at York and receiving the submission of most of the northern thegns.[10] Æthelwine also brought word from King Malcolm that the Scottish king wished to live in peace with the new English king.[9] King William sent Æthelwine back to Malcolm's court with William's terms, which were accepted.[9][10] In 1069, when the new earl of Northumbria Robert de Comines came north to begin governing, it was Æthelwine who warned the new earl about an English army loose in the area. Unfortunately, the new earl did not pay heed to the warning, and was surprised and burned to death in the bishop's house on 29 January 1069.[11] When King William marched north in retaliation on the scorched earth campaign generally known as the Harrying of the North, Æthelwine tried to flee with many Northumbrian treasures (including the body of Saint Cuthbert) to Lindisfarne,[12] but he was caught, outlawed, imprisoned, and later died in confinement in the winter of 1071–1072;[2][13] his see being temporarily left vacant until William appointed the native of Lorraine William Walcher.[14]


  1. Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 216
  2. 2.0 2.1 Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces): Durham: Bishops
  3. Walker Harold p. 104
  4. Fletcher Bloodfeud p. 156
  5. Barlow Edward the Confessor p. 203
  6. Walker Harold p. 108
  7. Kapelle Norman Conquest of the North p. 90
  8. Kapelle Norman Conquest of the North p. 98
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Fletcher Bloodfeud p. 173
  10. 10.0 10.1 Williams English and the Norman Conquest pp. 26–27
  11. Stenton Anglo-Saxon England p. 602
  12. Fletcher Bloodfeud p. 180
  13. Stenton Anglo-Saxon England p. 659 footnote 2
  14. Fletcher Bloodfeud p. 185


  • Barlow, Frank (1970). Edward the Confessor. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01671-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fletcher, R. A. (2003). Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516136-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Greenway, Diana E. (1971). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces): Durham: Bishops. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 25 October 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kapelle, William E. (1979). The Norman Conquest of the North: The Region and Its Transformation. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-1371-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England (Third ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280139-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Walker, Ian (2000). Harold the Last Anglo-Saxon King. Gloucestershire, UK: Wrens Park. ISBN 0-905778-46-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Williams, Ann (2000). The English and the Norman Conquest. Ipswich, UK: Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-708-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Durham
1056–c. 1071
Succeeded by
William Walcher